Every semester the same thing happens. A gaggle of students touches down in London and stumbles out of the plane. They’re exhausted, but excited to be beginning their study abroad program and getting to grips with a new city. Plus, the best thing is that classes don’t start for at least a week! That means a week to shop, sight see and explore London’s nightlife. Oh, and they have to find somewhere to live – but that can’t be too hard, can it? I mean, the city’s enormous so there must be plenty of houses. The Ithaca College London Center does not provide housing for its fall & spring students, but will provide support to each and every student to make sure that they find accommodations through a variety of means. Below is some very basic information about housing options while at the London Center. Students who are accepted into the program are given a highly detailed orientation on how to find housing and are advised in the process.

The Flat Hunt

Since 1972 students have found their own housing during the first week after their arrival in London by participating in the FLAT HUNT. During the first week they stay at a hotel. Students find potential flatmates within the group and spend the first few days of their time in London finding a flat. London Center staff have great experience helping students find accommodation and will put students in touch with reputable landlords and letting agents (i.e. housing providers).

You can expect the flats to contain full kitchens and living rooms. Some providers may also have slightly cheaper blocks in outer London areas.

This is the cheapest way - by London standards - to house yourself in London, but you may have to choose to live further away from the Center, in zone 2, or possibly beyond. Apart from keeping your costs down, a second advantage, is that you will develop a more intimate knowledge of London by participating in the flat hunt and exploring different parts of the city. A third advantage is that you will have British neighbors and you will not be living in an isolated community of US students.

There are a number of companies which provide accommodation for American study abroad students in shared flats for four to six people sleeping in shared rooms, though it is generally suggested that students get into groups of 4-8 to look for housing in the private rental sector, since they can save money by sharing rooms. However, it is perfectly possible for couples or individuals to find housing, and the staff at the Center can point you towards landlords and agencies specializing in smaller-scale accommodation.

Pre-arranged Housing

You can also choose the option of arranging your housing before you leave the U.S. To choose this option you will need to be in a group of 4 to 6 students and contact our housing agents as soon as possible - and certainly before the stock of housing reserved for US study abroad students dries up. The great advantages of arranging housing before you arrive in the UK are prior payment, a gentle landing in the UK, you can can save money on the week in a hotel during the flat hunt. If you choose this route, get in touch with the London Center at iclondoncenter@ithaca.edu.

Home Stay

We can suggest home stay options for you that students have used in the past. The chief advantage of a home stay is the greater integration into British society. Most home stays tend to be in the outer London boroughs, another advantage, as it will force you to explore more of London. Home stay families will usually provide breakfast, and in some cases other meals for students. Home stays will generally accommodate 1-2 students.

Beautiful white Georgian terraced house in Kensington, London
What Can You Do Now?
  • Consider which of the above options suits you best.
  • Think about and make a realistic budget.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate at www.oanda.com
  • If you decide to find your own flat, start thinking about a housing group. How many? Who?
  • What are your expectations? What do you want? What can you bend on? Keep in mind that this is only for 4 months, and is a place to lay your head but ideally not spend all your time.
  • Start to learn about the different areas of London. You can do so by looking at maps, reading books and looking through the web.
  • Check out the tube map to get an idea of what journeys might be like. Keep in mind however that it doesn't represent the street layout so it might be quicker to walk or ride the bus than to take the tube on some trips.
  • Read the ICLC emails about housing. Then re-read them.